With everyone in lockdown, 2020 was the perfect year to vent your frustrations and pass that extra time in some shooting games. Since we couldn’t go out and play these types of games in real life, luckily, and despite some struggles and delays, some great games came out of 2020, and we were able to rank some of the best out of 2020’s FPS games. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it be a battle royale or a mind-wielding tactical shooter, there’s a game for you on this list.
Metacritic Rating: 93
Highlights: Excellent VR, survival horror elements
Half-Life: Alyx is set between the times of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. You play as Alyx in her fight against aliens known as Combine as you attempt to obtain a weapon from them. Humanity is depending on you as the Combine’s power increases in the cities. Your father, Dr. Eli Vance, is one of Earth’s greatest scientists studying the Combine so you can learn their weaknesses and hope to defeat them.
The game is a mixture of a first-person shooter and a survival horror. Enemies pose a difficult challenge, ammo is hard to come by, and you do not have a lot of health. The combat and interaction with the environment is in VR, which the game has been immensely praised for. It still has the physics puzzles and exploration elements of the previous Half-Life installments, but it is not as fast-paced.
Half-Life: Alyx has been described as the killer app for VR. VentureBeat’s Mike Minotti says the interactive environment through VR is a highlight of the game. It has joined BioShock and Grand Theft Auto V as one of Metacritic’s top PC games of all time and has won multiple awards for having the best VR. It has received universal acclaim on Metacritic and is considered a “must-play,” so if you’re a fan of the dark and gritty, Half-Life: Alyx is definitely the game for you.
Developers: id Software
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, Switch
Metacritic Rating: 88
Highlights: “push-forward” combat, fast-paced gameplay
Doom Eternal is the sequel to the 2016 game Doom and follows the Doom Slayer on his quest to stop demons from overtaking humanity. It takes place 8 months after the events of the first game after Earth has been overrun by demons. The Doom Slayer returns with the goal of stopping this invasion by defeating the Hell Priests who want to sacrifice mankind.
Like Doom, Doom Eternal engages the use of the fast and aggressive method of “push-forward” combat. In this type of combat, you take health, ammo, and other necessities from your enemies as you fight your way out of rooms. There are also a variety of awesome weapons in the game, like The Crucible from the original game, a chainsaw, and a rocket launcher. Of course, you can mod your weapons with sticky bombs, heat blast abilities, and energy shields. There are also multiple multiplayer modes, such as Battlemode, which is a PvP match, or you can have other players join your single-player campaign in the multiplayer called “Invasion.”
Reviews for Doom Eternal were “generally favorable” according to Metacritic, where it received scores ranging from 81 to 88 on its various platforms. The gameplay was the major focus of critics’ praise, including an appreciation for the platforming puzzles and movement mechanics, along with the level design and varied arsenal. A lot of critics also appreciate the upbeat soundtrack which matches the fast-paced gameplay. You will have a great time if you love an aggressive and quick-moving game that will keep you on your toes.
Developers: Riot Games
Metacritic Rating: 80
Highlights: free-to-play, challenging strategy
Valorant is a 5v5 team-based tactical shooter where you play as one of many agents with unique capabilities. You start with a basic pistol but throughout the rounds, you can earn money to purchase additional weapons and ability charges. Agents have abilities such as tearing holes through reality, reviving fallen players, surveilling the other team, controlling beasts, and so much more. These agents can use their abilities on a variety of different maps from the arctic to cities with high rises. There are four game modes:
Unrated: The first team to win 13 rounds wins. Winning involves delivering the Spike (a bomb) to a specific location and allowing it to detonate before the other team can deactivate it.
Spike Rush: The first team to win four rounds wins. Every player begins with the same gun and all abilities fully charged. The goal is still to get a Spike to a specific location, but every player on the attacking team has a Spike.
Competitive: Similar to unrated matches, but each player gets a rank after 5 games are played.
Deathmatch: 14 players try to reach 40 kills in 10 minutes. Whoever gets the most kills at the end wins. All abilities are disabled, and the agent you get is random.
Valorant is praised for its complexity in its requirement to strategize and high degree of challenge. PC Gamer and other reviewers highly recommended it for fans of games like Counter-Strike. People enjoy the diversity of the agent abilities, the balanced maps, and the dynamic gunplay. This is a great new game if you’re looking for a new, challenging tactical shooter.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Developers: Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Metacritic Rating: 80
Highlights: free-to-play, battle royale
Call of Duty: Warzone is a battle royale game that allows up to 150 players. It is a part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but does not require the purchase of it. Warzone takes place in Verdansk, a huge region with rural areas and busy cities. You can take a tour of Verdansk on Activision’s blog. Explore Verdansk in one of two game modes: Battle Royale and Plunder.
In Battle Royale, the map continuously shrinks while players kill each other off to be the last player remaining. Vehicles are key mechanisms in Warzone, including the ATV, tactical rover, SUV, cargo truck, and a helicopter. Each vehicle has a health meter and offers you different benefits as you travel around Verdansk. If you die in Battle Royale, you go to the Gulag, where you can fight another player for the chance to respawn.
As for Plunder mode, the goal is to acquire $1 million in stacks of cash hidden throughout the map. Whichever team gathers the most money by the time the clock runs out wins.
Warzone was released to significant praise. Digitaltrends credited it as the “definitive battle royale experience right now” and rated it 4.5 stars. They also praised the respawn mechanic as a change to the usual formula, which many other reviewers also found to be a positive feature. Many also found it to be beginner-friendly, while still refreshing and enjoyable for more experienced players. Call of Duty is a leader in FPS for a reason, and Warzone is another shining example for them.